Faculty       Chairs/Directors    
Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs
 

FACULTY MEETING

April 9, 2010

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:34 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

President Glotzbach announced proposed changes to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held March 5, 2010 as earlier distributed (see attached for changes). President Glotzbach asked if there were any other revisions or changes. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved, as amended.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Admissions Report. Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, reported on the status of admissions for the incoming class:

Faculty Development Committee. On behalf of the Faculty Development Committee, Professor Roy Ginsberg announced that the recipient of the 2010-2011 Ralph A. Ciancio Award for Excellence in Teaching is Katie Hauser, Associate Professor of Art History.

Campus Campaign. Professor Sarah Goodwin urged every faculty member to consider donating to the campus campaign, which ends May 31, 2010. In the last campaign, 72 percent of the community donated to the campaign. Currently, 63 percent of the community has donated to the current campaign; we only need 83 more donors to meet our 72 percent level from the last campaign. She reminded everyone of the Williamson challenge and noted that our employees have been generous, having raised $4,129,736 to date; in our previous campaign, $1.2 million was raised from employees. Professor Goodwin indicated that Dean Jeffrey Segrave would be able to assist with any questions. President Glotzbach thanked Professor Goodwin and indicated that even small gifts count; in fact, this year, 18 students are here on scholarships that were funded through gifts of $100 or less.

President Glotzbach shared a PowerPoint presentation on current faculty salary rankings within our Comparison Group based upon the AAUP figures. Our goal is to be at the median for salary in each category.

Salaries

Total Compensation (salary and benefits)

In response to questioning, President Glotzbach acknowledged that Skidmore could slip in its rank for faculty salaries again this year as a result of continued frozen salaries and retirements. We will continue to monitor these data.

In response to questioning on data for contingent faculty salaries, Dean Muriel Poston indicated that data from AAUP are not easily accessible for our peer group and we have not tracked these figures as carefully as tenure and tenure track lines.

President Glotzbach announced that the Times Union will be publishing a story on Sunday, April 11, 2010 focusing on national trends on sexual assaults on college campuses, in which Skidmore will be mentioned. We have provided information to the Times Union about our policies and procedures and have indicated that we cannot comment on any specific case. President Glotzbach urged anyone who had any questions concerning our policies and procedures to speak with Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs.

President Glotzbach also stated that he has been working with Cabinet and the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) on a mid-term report on where we are with regard to the Strategic Plan. This report will take into account the results of the on- and off-campus town hall meetings. The preliminary synthesis report from the on-campus town hall meetings, which was prepared by a subcommittee of the IPPC, has been posted on the Campus Voice for the Town Hall meetings website. The synthesis group is preparing a final report, which will be available shortly. President Glotzbach concluded by indicating that a draft of his mid-term report will be available shortly and hoped that everyone would take the time to read this report and comment. The report will need to be finalized for the Board of Trustees in May.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT

Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced that the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences received a grant in the sum of $569,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to enable continuing research into new strategies and technologies to ensure the safety of firefighters. She acknowledged the work of Professors Denise Smith and Pat Fehling in securing this grant, as well as the support of Bill Tomlinson and Anita Miczek from the Office of Sponsored Research.

VPAA Kress also announced that the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has granted $1.2 million to the Tang Museum in support of the Andrew W. Mellon Challenge Grant. These funds will provide support for continuing national leadership in interdisciplinary teaching and learning through the use of museum exhibitions. She acknowledged Ian Berry and John Weber as well as Barry Pritzker and Lucy Crotty from Advancement for their work in obtaining this grant.

VPAA Kress indicated that Academic Affairs will compile an end-of-year report of all the many other grants received throughout the course of the year. She also urged everyone to send in news of their presentations, exhibits, performances, and publications to Scope so that everyone might be aware of the wonderful work happening across the campus.

VPAA Kress reported that she hopes to send out another news bulletin from Academic Affairs by the end of the semester to keep everyone updated on ongoing activities and initiatives. She acknowledged all the hard work in focusing on the budget for FY 2011 but reminded everyone that, although we have reached our targets, we still cannot go back to “business as usual.” The changes that have taken place and the changes we contemplate in every area of Academic Affairs, as a result of upcoming retirements, office transitions and reorganizations, will, in fact, make it impossible to go back to business as usual.

VPAA Kress concluded by noting that we will proceed with community conversations in Academic Affairs, keeping the focus on key elements of the Strategic Plan and key themes from the Town Hall discussions; in addition, we will focus on how we plan for and manage changes (large and small) and also how we stay prepared for the changes we cannot yet anticipate. One thing is sure: as we move forward, we will need yet more collaboration on all fronts – whether it is collaboration across colleges with the New York Six consortium or collaborations within and across our own departments and offices. This is a tremendous moment of transition, and we need to take a hard look at where we are, what our challenges are and where we need to go. At the same time, Academic Affairs is energized by the opportunities before us. Change brings loss, sometimes disruption and disorientation, but we also have the opportunity to make a positive difference for our campus and our community.

OLD BUSINESS

On behalf of the Committee for Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart read the following Motion (see attached) that was introduced at the faculty meeting held March 9, 2010:

MOTION: That the Skidmore College faculty:

A) adopt the Grade Appeal policy stated below;
B) amend the Faculty Handbook to incorporate the policy as indicated below;
C) direct that the College Catalog be revised in accord with the policy, as indicated below;
D) recommend that the Student Academic Handbook and other print and electronic publications accord with and refer to the Grade Appeal Policy language appearing in the Faculty Handbook.

Professor Bastress-Dukehart thanked all those who submitted comments on the grade appeal policy and noted that CEPP accepted many of the recommendations it received. She noted that CEPP believes this policy protects students, faculty and the college. She acknowledged the concerns of some faculty with respect to loss of academic freedom but stressed the recommendations by the AAUP that all colleges have procedures to appeal grades and, further, the requirement that all institutions receiving federal funding have a procedure by which students can challenge grades that they believe may be discriminative. She noted that Skidmore currently does not have a mechanism or procedure that allows students who believe they have been discriminated against to appeal a failing grade. Further, she pointed out that the Student Handbook suggests that students have redress through the Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights (CAFR) for unfair grades, but CAFR does not have the authority to change a grade.

Professor Bastress-Dukehart acknowledged the concern on the part of some that the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) is the final arbiter of a grade change. CEPP believes that by giving the authority to the faculty members on CAS, the policy follows AAUP recommendations. To ensure even more safeguards for faculty, CEPP included the Dean of the Faculty in the process to make certain that everyone’s interests are being met; however, she noted that neither the Dean of the Faculty nor any other administrator can change a grade.

Professor Bastress-Dukehart urged everyone to support this motion, noting that the policy is very narrow and only applies to a final failing grade that was capriciously given. She concluded by noting that if this policy were to be amended, the amended policy would need to be reviewed by legal counsel.

One faculty member noted that AAUP guidelines recommended an ad hoc committee composed of faculty in the same or related fields; Professor Bastress-Dukehart responded that CEPP chose not to use an ad hoc committee because some of our departments are so small; thus, the CEPP chose the one committee already authorized by the college to change grades. In response to another question about why the student and faculty member needed to put their exchanges in writing, Professor Bastress-Dukehart noted the need to protect a student from having in in-person interview if necessary as well as the need to provide a paper trail in a formal process. A faculty member who had proposed an amendment to the policy over email indicated he would withdraw that amendment after learning that our legal counsel advised that it would be unfair to students. A suggestion was made for clarification of the timing of the appeal process; Professor Bastress-Dukehart indicated that the policy would be changed to indicate that the student must make a request not later than two weeks after the start of the following semester not from the start of the following semester.

A number of faculty members expressed their support of the work of CEPP and of the Motion, with one faculty member indicating that she was surprised there was no policy in place already.

Dan Hurwitz, the chair of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), noted that CAS was an appointed committee and wondered whether a committee charged with such a momentous task should be elected. Professor Kate Graney, chair of CAS, responded that CAS had discussed this matter and expected that FEC, in appointing faculty to CAS, would balance newer faculty members with more seasoned ones; moreover, if the motion is passed, CAS will alter its operating code to allow a member to recuse him/herself and to ask FEC for a replacement as is done with other committees.

A motion was made to call the question and move to a vote on the current motion. The motion was seconded and passed.

Thereafter, a motion was made and seconded for a paper ballot vote; the motion passed by majority vote. The FEC administered the paper ballot vote: the votes were reported as 98 yes, 27 no, and no abstentions. Thus, the motion was passed.

NEW BUSINESS

Committee on Academic Standing

Professor Kate Graney, on behalf of CAS, introduced the following Motion (see attached):

MOTION: CAS moves that the College Honors criteria be modified and moves that the Skidmore College Catalog be amended as follows:

Old Language:

College Honors: Seniors with distinguished academic records may graduate cum laude (3.40–3.66 GPA), magna cum laude (3.67–3.79 GPA), or summa cum laude (3.80–4.00 GPA) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Academic Standing and with the approval of the faculty.

New Language:

College Honors:  Seniors with distinguished academic records may graduate cum laude (3.650-3.749 GPA), magna cum laude (3.750–3.899 GPA), or summa cum laude (3.90–4.00 GPA) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Academic Standing and with the approval of the faculty.

Professor Graney indicated that this Motion was based upon a request received at the May 2009 faculty meeting to address the increased numbers of students awarded college honors. Rather than implement a percentage model, CAS decided to raise the GPA to achieve the same effect. After a request was made to inform students of this change, it was noted that these changes would be effective for the Class of 2014 and would not therefore apply to any current students. The motion will lie over until the next meeting.

Professor Kate Graney, on behalf of CAS, introduced the following Motion (see attached):

MOTION: CAS, acting on behalf of the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising, moves that the Dean’s List Honors criteria be modified and moves that the Skidmore College Catalog be amended as follows:

Old Language:

Honors are awarded to each matriculated student who satisfactorily completes at least fourteen semester hours of credit by the regular grading deadline and who achieves a 3.40 to 3.66 GPA for that semester. Highest Honors are awarded to each student who satisfactorily completes at least fourteen semester hours of credit by the regular grading deadline and who achieves a 3.67 or higher GPA for that semester. (A grade of Incomplete, which temporarily places the credits earned below fourteen, makes the student ineligible for the Dean's List, even if the Incomplete is resolved successfully.) (GPA calculations are made to three decimal points.)

New Language:

Honors are awarded to each matriculated student who satisfactorily completes at least fourteen semester hours of credit by the regular grading deadline and who achieves a 3.650 or higher GPA for that semester. (A grade of Incomplete, which temporarily places the credits earned below fourteen, makes the student ineligible for the Dean's List, even if the Incomplete is resolved successfully.) (GPA calculations are made to three decimal points.)

In response to questioning concerning the time of implementation, Professor Graney noted that the change would be implemented for the Class of 2011. This motion will lie over until the next meeting.

Professor Kate Graney, on behalf of CAS, introduced the following Motion (see attached):

MOTION: CAS moves that a grade of “L” be introduced for courses affected when students are granted medical and personal leaves and moves that the Skidmore College Catalog be amended as follows:

New Language (to be inserted on p.49 of the College Catalog after the entry for WF)

L, Leave : A student who is approved for a medical or personal leave during the semester is assigned a grade of L for all classes that semester for which a grade has not been recorded by the Registrar’s Office at the start of the leave. No credit is given for courses assigned an L.

In response to questioning, Professor Graney indicated that this policy would apply to students only on leave for the semester and that students returning from personal leave would need to complete an application for consideration by the Office of Academic Advising. This motion will lie over until the next meeting.

Committee on Educational Policies and Procedures/Committee on Academic Standing

Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart, on behalf of CEPP and CAS, introduced the following Resolution (see attached):

Be it resolved that:

The names on the list represent those students who have completed or are expected to complete by August 31 all the academic requirements for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees; names of students who are not expected to complete their academic requirements until August 31 are marked with an asterisk. Students who have not met all other requirements (including financial, academic integrity, and social integrity obligations) may have the diploma withheld.

Clarification was requested regarding the date on the diploma that might be withheld. CEPP will confer with CAS concerning this issue. The motion will lie over until the next meeting.

Curriculum Committee

Professor Timothy Harper, on behalf of the Curriculum Committee, introduced the following Motions (see attached):

MOTION: That the English-French interdepartmental major be eliminated.
MOTION: That the English-Spanish interdepartmental major be eliminated.
MOTION: That the English-German interdepartmental major be eliminated.
MOTION: That the English-Philosophy interdepartmental major be eliminated.

There was no discussion, and the motions will lie over until the next faculty meeting.

REPORTS

Professor Michael Arnush reported on the Faculty Interest Group meetings held this year. There were four sessions held this year focusing on the value of a liberal arts education, the issue of tenure, and the issue of internationalization of the institution. Professor Arnush summarized the discussions at these meetings along with recommendations that developed from the meetings. Professor Arnush’s report is attached.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant

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